Detroit was treated to the highly anticipated return of Motorhead, coming out stronger than ever, along with powerhouses Anthrax and Crobot at The Fillmore Detroit.
Amidst health scares that cancelled shows and made us wonder if this was truly the end of a legend, Motorhead proved us wrong by putting on an incredible show. They prove to all that after 40 years, the band still has it.
Opening the night is Crobot. This rock band from Pennsylvania consists of Brandon Yeagley (vocalist), Chris Bishop (guitar/backing vocals), Jake Figueroa (bass), and Paul Figueroa (drums). You might wonder how a psychedelic funk rock band fits in with the likes of Anthrax and Motorhead. Less than a minute into their first song and it is clear to all that Crobot can holds their own. With a funky, soulful, and heavy sound, this band quickly gains fan interest.
Crobot offers up a groovy funk rock sound mixed with the energy of a punk band. Yeagley is an electrifying frontman; his sultry, gritty, powerful voice takes you back to the heyday of 70s rock, almost to the Lemmy years of Hawkwind. His stage antics could put the Energizer Bunny to shame; you almost can’t keep up with him. Yeagley has the crowd enthralled throughout the band’s set, even climbing Bishop’s shoulders at one point.
With Bishop shredding on guitar, Paul Figueroa slamming on drums, and Jake Figueroa hunched over and rocking out a driving bass line, they make a potent combination. You can hear and see hints of Clutch, Rival Sons, Aerosmith, and Steppenwolf, but their sound is an altogether new experience.
Shelling out songs like “Fly On The Wall,” “Welcome To Fat City,” and “La Mano de Lucifer,” they have the crowd entranced. While many were curious at first, this retro rock band proves themselves the real deal and gains a lot of new fans.
Their new album, Something Supernatural, is available now on their website
Hitting the stage next is Anthrax. This legendary thrash metal band consists of Joey Belladonna (vocals), Scott Ian (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Jon Donais (lead guitar), Frank Bello (bass guitar/backing vocals), and Charlie Benante (drums). Their thrash sound and Belladonna’s soaring metal vocals have made Anthrax stand out from the rest since their inception in 1981.
Within minutes of the first song, a massive mosh pit forms and never lets up. Belladonna runs around the stage interacting with the audience, sounding better than ever and seems to have an infinite supply of energy. He loves the crowd; he even begins passing guitar picks to this author to hand out to fans, making sure to point out who is to receive them.
With growling bass, booming drums, and a duo of screaming guitars, it is overwhelming to see these legends in action. This band loves their fans and knows how to deliver. They pump out hits like “Madhouse,” “Antisocial,” and “Medusa,” leading into “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t.” The crowd works into a frenzy; crowd surfers fly through the air.
Anthrax surprise everyone with a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights” (which they had recorded for the tribute album, Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life). Immediately following, they go into “In The End” as a tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag Darrell, revealing two murals with their likenesses. Their big finale was “Indians” and the crowd went berserk, the venue lighting up with their participation and cheers. As Anthrax wraps up, Ian announces they will be finishing their new album soon; one for which the Detroit crowd cannot wait.
And then, with the crowd chanting for them, Motorhead hits the stage. The legendary Lemmy Kilmister declare their iconic intro: “We are Motorhead, and we play rock n’ roll” as they launch into the unofficial Lemmy anthem, “Damage Case.” Many people have been worried about the outcome of the set, with Lemmy’s recent health setbacks in this tour. The first song wipes all fears from the minds of fans; Kilmister is back doing what he does best.
This band is made up of three frontmen, each a legend in their own right. Guitarist Phil Campbell shreds his guitar, full of power and striding across the stage. He shows his expertise during his solo in “Over the Top.” With smoke plumes on either side, the crowd was treated to Mikkey Dee’s superhuman drum skills, put on display during his insane solo in “Doctor Rock.”
Lemmy is an unconquerable force of rock n’ roll. Stoic at his mic, he powers through and shows us that he isn’t going anywhere. Lemmy says to the cheering crowd, “The better our crowd is, the better we play,” and he isn’t lying. They treat the house to favorites like “Metropolis,” “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch,” “Lost Woman Blues,” “Bomber,” and “Just ‘Cos You Got the Power.” Motorhead brings their fans together with their passion and gritty, real sound.
“This is gonna be the last song for us, but if you make some noise, we will come back,” mocked the bassist as the opening chords to “Ace of Spades” begins to deafening cheers. The throngs of fans are excited about the encore, and all are blown away when they come back out and open with “Overkill.” The band plays at flank speed, full of energy; it is amazing to see Motorhead back in their element.
Once being hailed as the worst band in the world, Motorhead’s 22nd studio album, Bad Magic (available on Amazon), has charted high worldwide. It debuted #1 in Germany, Finland, and Austria, along with the #1 spot for metal radio in the USA. Numbers like these prove the band is still relevant, as is metal music in general. Yes, Motorhead is different now after Lemmy’s health issues. But one thing that will never change is the passion they have, the pure rock energy they put into their music and the dedication to giving their fans the best show possible. They are still Motorhead, they still play rock n’ roll, and that will never change.